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Broken Minds

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The ceiling is draped in shadow and moonlight blankets the dogs at the foot of the bed. The time, 4:24 burns red from the bedside clock. And he still can’t sleep.

Will growled in frustration, tossing the thin blanket off. ‘I can’t sleep and when I do it’s never for long, and when it’s long I never stays in bed, it always ends with me standing in the middle of a street!’ He stumbled into the bathroom, ignoring the inquiring whine from Winston. The dog seemed to have taken it upon himself to watch out for his new human, which extended to following him on his midnight jaunts.

The shower beat down on his shoulders set to its hottest setting, burning away the scents of sweat and fear, leaving only exhaustion and weariness, and burning mindless pain in it's wake.

Weariness. His life was a study in weariness. It was one of the only constants. His “gift” as Jack put it was a nightmare. A curse. It was like drowning. He was constantly pulled under, his personality, his mind, washed aside, replaced with someone else’s. Like the tides each was replaced. He was being worn away, he thought, a feeling of hysteria bubbling up in his chest as a harsh sob. He wasn’t a person. He was the frame of a mirror, always reflecting everything but himself. What color was a mirror? Some scientists had no doubt figured it out, but the mirror certainly didn’t know. And Jack certainly didn’t care. He was the shield Jack used to see Medusa. To find and fight the monsters in the dark, and then tossed to a servant to fix the damage. He almost pitied Doctor Lecter. Crawford had not given him an easy job by any means.

How do you fix Frankenstein’s monster? How do you heal the mind of a man whose psyche is made of bits and pieces of serial killers and rapists? He’s been diagnosed with aspergers and autism, a general social anxiety disorder but there are shards of his mind, shards of other people’s minds in his mind that are sociopathic. Schizophrenic. Psychopathic. Bipolar and obsessive compulsive and narcissistic and pyromanic. He can’t always tell, can rarely tell, what pieces are his, what aren’t, and if it even matters anymore. He doesn’t even know what his own sexuality is. His “gift” had been fully in evidence by the time he was 12, he’d picked up bits and pieces of every common kind of sexuality from those around him, and by the time he was working for the FBI he had picked up the uncommon, and distasteful ones too. It was why he never acted on any sexual impulse. He was afraid to.  Afraid of opening that door. Most of the people who knew him assumed he was asexual. It was the opposite. He was every single sexuality conceived of. Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, queer. Hell, transgender too, he had pieces inside him that were definately female. He's a masochist and sadist, a submissive and a dominant. He was the pedophile and the victim. He grabbed the soap and the scrubber, attempting to purify himself, to dig out the filth that infected his entire body, leaving abrasions and redness behind.

His masochism showed in what he did. In what he let himself be forced to do. Lecter had asked him once why he chose a carrier that put him in direct contact with personalities that were so harmful to him. Will had laughed bitterly. What else was he supposed to do? What else was he good for? At least with this job he might help someone. And there was a high possibility of him dying. Will longed for death. Thirsted for it, wanted to be released from his punishment, from his life. But the idea that, in whatever afterlife there was, he would be judged not just for his actions but for his mind, for thoughts and ideas and morality couldn't be shaken. If that was the case he knew he would be punished. Although it was hard to conceive of a worse punishment than what he already endured. His dearest hope was that there was nothing after death. That he’d just cease to exist. Wink out like a candle flame. But it seemed far more likely that he was already being punished for some grievous crime from a past life.  And so he didn’t take his own life. But dying by accident? Dying to protect or save someone else, or catch a murderer? That was almost a goal. 

One Jack Crawford took advantage of. Lecter had said Jack saw him as a delicate little tea cup. He was wrong. To Jack, Will was a prized dog. Come. Sit. Fetch. Find. Dig. Fight. Good dog. Have a biscuit. Will bared his teeth in a growl. It was one of the reasons he loved and cared for his dogs so carefully. He knew damn well what it was to be a dog. And he knew eventually Jack would either abandon him, or put him down. He didn’t-couldn't trust anyone. Especially himself.

He envied Doctor Lecter. The man who emoted nothing. Even if he tried Will didn’t think he could enter Lecters mind. There were walls beyond walls there. He was envious; his own walls were as resilient as a soap bubble. What Lecter presented to the world was a mask. It had to be, because the depth of the man was fathoms deep. He might not be able to see it, feel it, but he could hear the echoes that came when he tossed a rock on the surface.  Lecter liked him. That was reason enough to doubt his intentions. No one good liked him. Lecter willingly spent time with him outside of the sessions Jack insisted on. Made him food, made sure he ate. Touched him. Listened, seemingly without judgment. Will was pretty sure he was hiding an insanity of his own.

He’d gladly trade.

The steam blurred his vision, narrowing his world to the heat, the burn of his body rubbed raw. He washed his hair quickly, stepping out of the tub, ignoring the mirror and the large feathered stag reflected in it, its breath fogging the glass. It was a near constant presence now. He wondered caustically if he would miss it if it left. He saw it in the fields surrounding his home, in the halls of the university, in Abigail’s hospital room and later her room at the psychiatric hospital, in the corridors of the FBI. He wasn’t sure what its purpose was, why his psyche was creating such a thing. He knew it had to do with the copycat from the Hobbs case, the stag head the girl had been impaled on, the crows that were pecking at her body. But it had never left. Perhaps it would when he caught the copycat, but it seemed pretty set on not leaving, gracefully picking its way through the tares and fractures of his mind.

The cold of his bedroom after the intense heat of the shower left goose bumps running up and down his body, his body shaking with shock. He pushed through it, punishing himself. He threw on a pair of cotton y-fronts and shook his head spraying water every which way. Forgoing the aftershave (which indeed have a little ship on the bottle), he instead applied deodorant and dressed for work, making a cup of coffee and pulling a stack of papers he needed to grade to him on the small table. Winston nosed his palm and whined softly, worried. “It’s alright. I’m not leaving. Not tonight.” He muttered softly to the dog, running a calming hand over his ears.

Five minutes later the phone had rung, he was on his way to another crime scene, and he added “Making me lie to my dogs” to his list of why he disliked Jack Crawford.